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War And Peace 201


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Dolokhov, and anger, and honor--its all nonsense... but this is real.... Now then, Natasha, now then, dearest! Now then, darling! How will she take that si? Shes taken it! Thank God!" And without noticing that he was singing, to strengthen the si he sung a second, a third below the high note. "Ah, God! How fine! Did I really take it? How fortunate!" he thought. Oh, how that chord vibrated, and how moved was something that was finest in Rostovs soul! And this something was apart from everything else in the world and above everything in the world. "What were losses, and Dolokhov, and words of honor?... All nonsense! One might kill and rob and yet be happy..." CHAPTER XVI It was long since Rostov had felt such enjoyment from music as he did that day. But no sooner had Natasha finished her barcarolle than reality again presented itself. He got up without saying a word and went downstairs to his own room. A quarter of an hour later the old count came in from his Club, cheerful and contented. Nicholas, hearing him drive up, went to meet him. "Well--had a good time?" said the old count, smiling gaily and proudly at his son. Nicholas tried to say "Yes," but could not: and he nearly burst into sobs. The count was lighting his pipe and did not notice his sons condition. "Ah, it cant be avoided!" thought Nicholas, for the first and last time. And suddenly, in the most casual tone, which made him feel ashamed of himself, he said, as if merely asking his father to let him have the carriage to drive to town: "Papa, I have come on a matter of business. I was nearly forgetting. I need some money." "Dear me!" said his father, who was in a specially good humor. "I told you it would not be enough. How much?" "Very much," said Nicholas flushing, and with a stupid careless smile, for which he was long unable to forgive himself, "I have lost a little, I mean a good deal, a great deal--forty three thousand." "What! To whom?... Nonsense!" cried the count, suddenly reddening with an apoplectic flush over neck and nape as old people do. "I promised to pay tomorrow," said Nicholas. "Well!..." said the old count, spreading out his arms and sinking helplessly on the sofa. "It cant be helped It happens to everyone!" said the son, with a bold, free, and easy tone, while in his soul he regarded himself as a worthless scoundrel whose whole life could not atone for his crime. He longed to kiss his fathers hands and kneel to beg his forgiveness, but said, in a careless and even rude voice, that it happens to everyone! The old count cast down his eyes on hearing his sons words and began bustlingly searching for something. "Yes, yes," he muttered, "it will be difficult, I fear, difficult to raise... happens to everybody! Yes, who has not done it?" And with a furtive glance at his sons face, the count went out of the room.... Nicholas had been prepared for resistance, but had not at all expected this. "Papa! Pa-pa!" he called after him, sobbing, "forgive me!" And seizing his fathers hand, he pressed it to his lips and burst into tears. While father and son were having their explanation, the mother and daughter were having one not less important. Natasha came running to her mother, quite excited. "Mamma!... Mamma!... He has made me..." "Made what?" "Made, made me an offer, Mamma! Mamma!" she exclaimed. The countess did not believe her ears. Denisov had proposed. To whom? To this chit of a girl, Natasha, who not so long ago was playing with dolls and who was still having lessons. "Dont, Natasha! What nonsense!" she said, hoping it was a joke. "Nonsense, indeed! I am telling you the fact," said Natasha indignantly. "I come to ask you what to do, and you call it nonsense!" The countess shrugged her shoulders. "If it is true that Monsieur Denisov has made you a proposal, tell him he is a fool, thats all!" "No, hes not a fool!" replied Natasha indignantly and seriously. "Well then, what do you want? Youre all in love nowadays. Well, if you are in love, marry him!" said the countess, with a laugh of annoyance. "Good luck to you!" "No, Mamma, Im not in love with him, I suppose Im not in love with him." "Well then, tell him so." "Mamma, are you cross? Dont be cross, dear! Is it my fault?" "No, but what is it, my dear? Do you want me to go and tell him?" said the

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